Paying off our NEW Home, Part 2
So what happened after we paid off our house the first time?
In the 5 years following us reaching Baby Step 7…
-We saved a lot.
-We gave a lot.
-We lived a little more, and I’m so glad we did! (Because I can tell you one thing: it was HARD those first 5 years living on such a tight budget! We were ready to eat out a little more and take a few vacations!)
-We also experienced life with a new lens: We became parents.
And in the midst of learning to provide for 2 tiny humans, Will had two job changes - both which required hustle from the ground up (meaning: he didn’t make money at first but needed to build his work over months and months to create a sustainable income.)
We did not stray from Dave Ramsey’s plan, and we certainly didn’t go into debt. But we weren’t able to save quite as much as we had hoped, because life happened.
Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets! Will is in a job he LOVES now, and that required some sacrifice, trusting God’s voice and navigating through seasons of waiting and building - especially in regards to our finances. That’s what marriage is about. He was the breadwinner while I built my business, and for a season, I was the breadwinner while he built his. Now we both are so grateful for work we love.
But we still lived in the tiny townhouse we paid off 5 years ago… with 2 kids, a giant dog, and a team of 3 employees and a nanny that came to work every day. We both worked from home, and we knew it was time to find more space for our family and our work.
(Bless Will’s heart - he worked out of the tiny guest bedroom for years!!)
So last year when we began looking, we knew we could pay cash for another house if we sold our house for $200,000 and bought a house for $300-$350,000. The market was hot - houses were being sold FAST! So we began to look.
2 beloved houses that we were ready to make offers on went under contract before we ever could make an offer. It was a long process of waiting. So when we found a foreclosure for $499,000, we thought we’d take a look just for fun.
Long story short - we loved it. It sat empty for over 1.5 years, and needed some WORK. But it had a separate studio space, an acre of land, and almost the exact layout we were looking for.
I had some work that needed to be done in my heart though. I was so prideful about going back into debt - I told Will we couldn’t do it. I cried and cried about it. I was fearful of what other people would think, and I didn’t want to live with a house payment again. I honestly felt like a fraud because we had “preached” debt freedom so often.
I prayed and asked God to make a way if this was it for us. My specific prayer was that we would get the house for under $450,000 in an impossible market. After much negotiating, we did! I also knew it wouldn’t be $100,000 of debt, but also an additional $60,000 because of the renovations that would need to be done. It was so humbling for me to feel like we were, in a sense, starting over.
Thankfully, God kept saying “I have something good for you! Accept it!” I also knew this was Him reminding me that my identity is NOT in a finish line or an accomplishment, but my identity is His daughter. Debt or no debt, I’m still His.
And in all of this, we still plan to pay it off fast! We are giving ourselves a bit more grace with 3 little ones, but the plan is to hopefully pay it off by the end of 2020.
We are also saving for colleges, two weddings, and a few last home renovations in the meantime too. (Life is dang expensive!)
I share all of this for a few reasons, and I hope this didn’t make you feel awk because if I’m honest I totally feel that way typing out all these numbers and my fears and where we are today. But in all of this, I hope you are encouraged by a few things:
Our identity is not linked to our financial status / successes / failures.
You can give yourself permission to change your financial plan and that is OKAY. LIfe happens!
Dave’s Baby Steps really do work and are a great guide for healthy finances. We are still following his plan! We just bumped back from Baby Step 7 to Baby Step 6 for a few years, but are excited to be back on Baby Step 7 soon enough.
Do you follow Dave’s Baby Steps? If so, what step are you on so I can cheer you on?!